Thursday, September 9, 2010
Dispatch Number 1...The Life On Point Team
I have arrived in Laos and have begun preparations for movement. The Life on Point Team has been assembled; our equipment was waiting courtesy of the network already established and our transportation has been...well interesting. The contractor that we are working for has put me in touch with an "ex-pat" who is a communications guru...so he is here with me as well. Long discussions on wave propagation as well as training indigenous personnel on radio systems has punctuated the last 24 hours...suffice to say sleep has been in short supply.
The bus ride to the border was as interesting as anything I have ever done before...that is to say not since travelling through Russia and Kazakhstan have I shared a ride with various forms of livestock including chickens, a rooster and "mini-pigs" ... and yes all running uncaged throughout the bus! It was like a scene from Borat!
The hut we stayed in last night provided shelter from the rain...but not much more. My significant other would have been alarmed as I awoke at 0400 to the rustling under my sleeping mat...suffice to say the lizard that darted out from the light was large enough to alarm even me. The food has been rice which my stomach (while on these medications) can tolerate well and some bits of boiled chicken which has become a staple item for me. I have been told that as we make our way inland that more exotic offerings will accompany the fluffy white stuff...can't wait for that!
We will begin to make our way across the border shortly and linkup with the folks who most desperately need our help. I met with another US representative this morning who wished us the very best. His name was "Ed" and no doubt he has seen much in this area. He showed us the latest imagery as well as pictures of what is happening inside the border area...it is not a pretty site.
I feel fortunate on one hand to help...but on the other...sad that this type of oppression still exists in a world that has grown and matured so much over the past 100 years. I don't know what it is but the images of children being targeted based on ethnicity is disturbing to me. What has happened to these people and the way of life they have lived is nothing short of terrible. I have seen similar incidents in Srebenicia and throughout Bosnia while stationed there...but this is more chilling. Perhaps its because I am a father that these images of massacred children trouble me so much...they are innocents in a world that has forgotten them.
When I was younger I was watched a movie called the "The Evil that Men Do" and it starred Charles Bronson. It was a sad portrayal of exactly what men and regimes will do in order to get their own way. Seeing these latest pictures (both still and video) from "Ed" brings back to light the depths of that movie and what an evil man is capable of...in some regards it is a giant step back in time and one that I am not willing to take...nor even stand for any longer.
The team is well equipped and prepared...a total of five well trained men and a cadre of support personnel who have all proven themselves in other areas across the globe. I am heading up the second element heading in across the border...a tedious climb followed by a solid day of movement to get to the affected area. Suffice to say I feel well...the physical activity and the anticipation of what is to come is both exhilarating...and at the same time foreboding...but it is what we signed up for.
I spoke to my father just before departing the US a few days ago...he did not understand why I was doing this...especially at this juncture in my life...I can only think that if he was here he would at least understand...for seeing is truly believing.
Hopefully this finds you all well...stay tuned as the dispatches will keep coming from both myself and my COO back in the States...and hopefully good news will come from our efforts. As the situation dictates I will forward pictures so that you get a sense of what we are trying to accomplish.
The Life On Point Team